woman grieving and in prayer

In the Crossfire

Just 11 days ago, the Middle East exploded into war after a raid fueled and planned by Hamas–a terrorist organization based in Gaza. Since then, we have watched in horror as the brutal details of the attack have come to light and as Israel has responded by calling up 300,000 trained reservists for a military operation. I spent many days watching competing news outlets describe these events, watching university protests unfold, and noting the many theological-political responses. And the sum of those points to a stark reality: pro-Palestinian sources blame Israel’s existence for these attacks, and pro-Israeli groups blame Hamas and hold them accountable for the attacks.

What separates the two is a view of human life’s value. If you want to understand the political issues between the two entities, Jim Denison provides a thorough education on his website, the Denison Forum. Jim is one of the most intelligent men I have ever met, and he writes about current events daily. He’s a healthy theologian, a student of world religions, and a trusted mentor. The last ten days of his articles and white papers provide a wealth of information I recommend for reading. But these days have shown a radical contrast between Hamas and Israel.

Israel uses missiles to protect people; Hamas uses people to protect missiles.

Israel distinguishes between combatants and civilians; Hamas sees all in the democracies that oppose them as combatants.

Israel sees life as precious and operates within international law; Hamas sees any non-Muslim life as nothing, expendable garbage.

Hamas and other terrorist groups do not represent all of Islam. They are seen as extremists, even among Muslim communities. But the atrocities they embrace came into full view as women and children were brutalized decapitated, and their dead bodies were paraded through the streets in celebration. It’s a radically different view of life.

So what do WE do?

Pray for peace. The toll will be great until peace comes.

Pray for Israel. I remember America’s thirst for justice after 9/11. They are calling this their own 9/11. Wisdom is crucial to demonstrating a difference.

Pray for Muslims. Muslims are coming to Christ around the world as they have dreams and visions that reveal Jesus. Pray for many to come to Christ and begin to experience His power at work.

Whether we realize it or not, we’re all in the crossfire of this conflict. Refuse to adopt hatred, choose to love our enemies, and pray for mercy and justice to be only in God’s balance and will.

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